Photo of the week 2014 – Week eight

I was standing in front of six advanced Chinese students wondering how I got there. Figuratively, not literally that is.

I’d somehow managed to blag a job as an advanced English teacher in Yangshuo, China. Apparently, the fact that I had a degree (in biochemistry I might add) was qualification enough to put the wellbeing and future prospects of six students in my hands. Teaching English. Something I’d never done before.

Between my GCSE A in English language, the furthest level I took my English proficiency, and the chocolate bars I’d brought along to bribe the class, I think it’s safe I was underprepared. Woefully underprepared and underqualified.

Still, I had a lesson plan that I meticulously researched on Dave’s ELS Café, and the fact that my students could speak English anyway put me at ease somewhat. All I had to do was stand in front a group of people and talk for a couple of hours. Wait a minute; this was something I could do!

Over the next few weeks I’d like to say I made a lasting impression on my students, but I don’t think that was the case. All we did was play games and quizzes, though I did try and teach them as much of the world outside China as they were teaching me of the world inside it.

Aren’t all teachers supposed to say their students touched them, moulded them and changed them for the better? I don’t know if I can bear such a claim, but living in Yangshuo was one of the stand out memories of my round the world trip.

A little over an hour south of the city Guilin in southern China, Yangshuo is one of the most popular tourist hot spots for locals and foreigners alike in the country. Everyone comes to this tiny mountain town for one reason; the stunning scenery.

With karst mountains standing tall, a gorgeous green countryside and a winding river passing by the town, you can see why so many people are attracted here. Add in the fact that there’s excellent shopping in West Street and some wonderful restaurants only serves to heighten the attraction.

For a few weeks I had the honour and the pleasure of calling Yangshuo home, my first in over a year of wandering, and with mountain views such as this you can see why it was easy to get caught up for a few weeks. If you have the opportunity to live in Yangshuo for a bit, I’d take it…